First and foremost, I have no interest to discuss any of the Mass Effect 3 endings in here, nor will there be any spoilers or discussion about the singleplayer campaign. That horse has been kicked far into it's grave, and I really don't care to speak about it anymore.
With that out of the way, can I take a moment to dispel some things I've been hearing about Mass Effect 3's multiplayer and the negative buzz it has been getting in some circles? Among the multitude of commenting waves of those who choose to discuss only the game's endings, It seems that some crowds are talking about shunning Mass Effect 3's multiplayer and how it's microtransactioned, or how it only seems to be a straight-forward ripoff of the Gears of War Horde mode. Let's get try to clarify a little bit of this.
To start off, yes, you can pay using real money to buy the booster item packs, but realistically you shouldn't need to spend any real money here. Aside from being completely optional to spend real money, the in-game credits you accumulate are more than enough to buy new items with, assuming you can come out of a single round victorious. A victory on the hardest Gold difficulty easily nets you enough credits (around 70,000) to buy the most expensive booster item pack (costs 60,000 credits) for at least one "rare" or top-tier items. Obviously it's an extreme longshot for a new player to even remotely see a victory here, but a victory in the easiest Bronze difficulty nets you around 17,000 credits, which is just about enough for the middle-tier item pack (20,000 credits). These middle-tier booster packs offer "uncommon" level items, and are more than viable enough to give a player some decent gear to start building a character with. Some notable pieces of "uncommon" level gear which can carry even into the hardest Gold difficulty include:
- M-96 Mattock (Assault rifle)
- M-15 Vindicator (Assault rifle)
Geth Plasma Shotgun (Shotgun, I'm 85% sure this is uncommon level, correct me if I'm wrong)*Edit: this in indeed a "rare" level weapon. Thanks to those for clarification.
- M-9 Tempest (Submachine gun)
- M-5 Phalanx (Pistol)
- M-92 Mantis upgrades (Sniper, can also be easily found in the lowest-tier booster pack)
FYI, I am not including the "Premium Spectre pack" in this conversation, as it's a limited time on-and-off booster pack, that costs 99,000 credits - but offers 2 guaranteed "rare" items. And yes, I wish there was a trading system in place to help deal with some of the randomness of the items that get handed to you when buying the items pack.
If anything, I think maybe the main problem is people seem to be unable to get through all the way to the end of the 10 waves to garnish the full amount of credits, likely even on bronze, the easiest difficulty. Frankly speaking, I think there's simply a lot of people who have bad character builds (or possibly may not be that skilled at shooters). To the credit of these people, it isn't explained very well as to how to build an effective character or how to play certain classes to their best strengths, and even on the easiest Bronze difficulty, the enemies can come at you far harder than anything found in main singleplayer campaign.
There's a lot of RPG elements involved that people may not realize, as it's not just "SHOOT DUDES". Typical RPG elements like class specialization, aggro, crowd control, DPS (sustained and burst), elemental damage, ability synergy/combinations, line of sight, stealth, and party buffs are important factors to consider. I mean, you can play it just as "SHOOT DUDES", but you're not going to be the most effective, and it's going to end in more failures if everyone is playing it like a straight 3rd person shooter. I think a large part as to why some people may find the multiplayer bland or generic is due to this fact - people simply aren't exploiting their class powers enough, to take advantage of the deeper elements of the combat system. Again, I don't entirely fault the player for this - there simply isn't much in way of tutorial or description for this beyond the very minor descriptions in the character skill tree/powers menu.
I could probably talk at length about all those RPG elements and give a general guide as to how to effectively play Mass Effect 3 multiplayer, but I'll maybe save that for another time. As far as I can tell, it's maybe just a little too easy for people to shun Mass Effect 3's multiplayer with a generic blanket-statements of ignorance, just because it wasn't originally built as a multiplayer game, among other things. Those things probably warrant their own discussions as well.
Ultimately, I think Mass Effect 3's multiplayer should get a little more credit for what it brings to the table, especially with the surprising depth when the expectations of it were so low. It has a good share of it's own problems as well, but I think as it was Bioware's first attempt at an online experience in a territory that they haven't really explored before, it's a pretty solid.
Anyways, let me know what you guys think.